The cabin will sit at the end of the garden, facing the house. I have romantic notions of sitting there all wrapped up with a good book, or him wot is indoors, watching hedgehogs scurrying across the lawn…
Buying a cabin is no picnic though. The sales force that dedicate themselves to bamboozling you with technical jargon such as unit heat loss rate ‘U-values’ versus thickness of wood (24mm/36mm/44m), species of tree used for the wood, chamfered notch-joint systems, colours of shingle, eaves heights, planning permission Ts and Cs, pent and apex roof styles, summerhouse versus cabin definitions… there is a lot to learn.
Visiting a cabin sales place is much like buying a used car in terms of the service you receive. I visited Dunster House in Bedford and was quite literally told that if I wasn’t buying that day then they didn’t have time to show me around. It was nearing the end of the month and they had sales targets to meet don’t you know. Luckily enough, I thought their cabins were pretty shoddy anyway. Doors not hanging flush, letting in drafts – that kind of thing. They were pretty cheap though. Frosts Garden Centre at Willington had some lovely designs and the sales guy clearly knew his stuff and took lots of time to explain things to me. Their prices were the other end of the scale though. You were looking at £4.5k+ easily for the size I was after. If you could afford to shop with them, or had a larger garden and so could be more flexible with the size of your building and take advantage of their ex-showroom buildings, then I imagine they’d be a pleasure to buy from.
Internet wise there are lots of online ordering options. There’s a great customising tools available on sites offering ‘BillyOh’ range buildings – I loved mucking around changing the colour settings! – but eventually you have to concede to good sense and recognise that the hundreds of customer reviews online do not present a coherent picture of either quality or customer service. And this thing is gonna cost proper money. So you just can’t gamble like that.
In the end I’ve ordered from an online company named Tigersheds who have their own wood cutting mill in Leeds. They use slow grown wood and have good (if slightly old) reviews. Slow grown timber is very important for heat retention when used in cabins as wood that is slower grown wood is denser, heavier and basically let’s less air pass through. And I’ve picked the 44mm thick stuff with double glazed windows and doors so it really should be well insulated – so we can use it all year round.
‘The Balinese’ is currently on order to arrive early March. It’s built to order at 4.5m wide by 3m deep.
Check it out!